“We were surprised by the high rate of maturation achieved as we do not get such high rate (comparable to what we get with horse oocytes) with southern white rhino females in European zoos. The semen of Saut was very difficult to work with and to find three live sperms needed for the eggs of Najin we had to thaw two batches of semen. Now the injected oocytes are incubated and we need to wait to see if any viable embryo develop to the stage where it can be cryopreserved for later transfer,” said Cesare Galli of Avantea in Cremona (Italy) who led the fertilization procedure. The international research consortium to save the northern white rhino from extinction is led by Thomas Hildebrandt from the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW). Avantea is responsible for maturing the egg cells and creating viable embryos, further key project partners are Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Kenya Wildlife Service.
The results of possible embryo development are to be announced around September 10th.
More information about Northern White Rhino's rescue on: https://safaripark.cz/en/conservation/northern-white-rhinos